The Comfort Cookie

This past Monday, June 25, 2012 would have been my dad’s 77th birthday. For the most part, I had a pretty good day. Of course, I had my moments of sadness. But the weather here was picture-perfect – “his” kind of weather. It is hard to be gloomy inside when it is so pretty outside. Plus, it was cool enough to comfortably make comfort food at the end of June 🙂

And that’s what I did. I made fried chicken for dinner. But I had no dessert in the house. So I made some awesome cookies. The sweet aroma filled the house. To brag on them, I posted a picture on Facebook. Requests for the recipe began. You now know the story behind my creation.

Let me know if you make these. They were a huge hit in my house!

“Jazzed-up” Chewy Oatmeal Cookies (adapted from

3/4 cup butter

1 1/4 cups of firmly packed brown sugar

1 egg

1/3 cup of milk

1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla

3 cups of oats – uncooked

1 cup of all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon of baking soda

1/2 teaspoon of salt

1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon

3/4 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 cup of dried cranberries

Melted chocolate for drizzle (optional – recipe below)

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper OR lightly grease the baking sheets.

Combine butter, brown sugar, egg, milk, and vanilla in a large bowl. Beat at medium speed until well blended.

Combine flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Mix into creamed mixture at low speed. Slowly blend in oats.

Stir in chocolate chips and cranberries. Drop by rounded tablespoons onto prepared sheets, about 2″ apart.

Bake for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove and let stand for three or four minutes before transferring to cooling rack. Drizzle with chocolate if desired.

Makes between 2 1/2 to 3 dozen cookies, depending on how large you make them.

Chocolate drizzle can be made by melting chocolate chips or my making this super-easy chocolate sauce. Use this sauce over desserts, ice cream, in iced-coffee, etc. I found it on a blog that has great recipes. Check it out: httpsss://

Homemade Chocolate Sauce

1 cup of cocoa powder

3/4 cup of granulated sugar

1/2 cup of water

Mix all ingredients together in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and continue cooking for 3-4 minutes. Stir constantly! Let cool. Syrup will thicken as it cools. Store for 2-3 weeks in the refrigerator – if it lasts that long!

© 2012 – Lynne Cobb

The anger phase? Yeah, felt it

“Grief is the price we pay for love.” – Queen Elizabeth II

The florist did exactly as instructed: Use flowers with patriotic colors, make them look “masculine,” and for Heaven’s sake, please don’t arrange them to look like they are en route to a funeral home.

I love my florist. She gets me. She knows I abhor funeral-looking flowers and she always accommodates my requests.

So after church on Sunday, why, oh why, did I want to take that floral arrangement and chuck it across the pews and watch it smash into the brick wall?

I ordered the flowers for Father’s Day in memory of my dad. They looked beautiful on the altar. But as I retrieved the arrangement to bring home, a wave of anger enveloped me. I felt like the flowers were a consolation prize. And I didn’t want them.

I wanted my dad.

I wanted to go visit him, to hug him, to hear his laugh, to see his sentimental smile and watch him nod his head as he read his Father’s Day card. I wanted to eat strawberry shortcake and have too much coffee with him. I didn’t want those damn flowers because they represented his death. They reminded me that I couldn’t see him in person, that at best, I could visit where his ashes are interred.

It was hard, and I did my best to get through the day without another meltdown. I propped his picture up so he was sitting with me as I muddled through chores.

The erratic weather mirrored my emotions: glimpses of sunshine; glimpses of smiles. A stray shower; a tear or two here and there. By the end of the day, the sun was setting, and the tears flowed freely, and it actually felt good.

Ironically, out of a gray sky, the sun blazed fiercely as a torrential rain storm hit in the area. Wiping my eyes, I looked out the window, then headed to the garage.

And son of a gun, if there wasn’t a rainbow stretched out across the sky…

© 2012 – Lynne Cobb

Dear Daddy

“My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me.” – Jim Valvano

Dear Dad Daddy,

I am not sure when I graduated from calling you “Daddy,” but I assume sometime in grade school. It’s kind of funny, but ever since you were in ICU last summer, I went back to calling you Daddy. I’m not sure why, but I feel closer to you when I call you Daddy. Of course, I don’t say it aloud. It is my special name for you.

Anyhow, this is our year of firsts, and we visit yet another observance without you – Father’s Day. Instead of getting you Lotto tickets, I ordered altar flowers in your memory for church. I still can’t get over the strange feeling I get when I say “in memory of” instead of “in honor of.” Seriously, those words seemed a bit interchangeable to me until last summer.

A lot has changed in a year. Somethings I am really glad you don’t have to witness. Other things, I wish I could see your reaction. I know you are next to me, but I can’t see your face – though I imagine that you have the huge grin going on! I can picture you doing “the nod” or rolling your eyes. Oh, how I miss that! And your laugh!

All of us think of you all the time. And we talk about you all the time. I used one of your favorite expletives while driving and then I laughed so hard I almost had to pull over. I wasn’t sure if it was me or you that let out, “C’mon, ***hole!”

We “look for the Larry” in all situations. And like pastor said at your funeral, “there is always a story to tell.” We’ve laughed and cried over the stories. When I’m not sure what to do, I think, “What would Dad do.” And as a child of yours, I may choose to do the opposite 🙂

We all feel robbed of getting to spend quality time with you. The Alzheimer’s stole moments and it was horrible to see you slowly slip away. But what I find amazing is when I dream about you, I see you healthy, whole and happy. It is like having a visit with you, and it just confirms over and over the hope of the Resurrection.

Dad, I thank you so much for all you did for me. I told you, and I do believe you heard all of us whisper to you in your final hours.

But just in case you didn’t hear, I wrote you this letter. I know you’ll hear me, because you dwell in my heart, and that is where these words come from. Thank you for life, for loving us, for your witness of faith, for all your good and for all your faults. Because you weren’t perfect, you showed us that sinners become saints. Because of your love as a father, you gave us a glimpse of the love of our heavenly Father.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you. And Happy Father’s Day.

I love you, Daddy.

© 2012 – Lynne Cobb

(ps – These are photos of some of the cards I made my dad…)

Mixing it up again in Lynne’s Lab

Yes, making my own household cleaning and personal care items continues in my kitchen. So far, the results of the deodorant, laundry detergent and liquid hand soap have been favorable. They have also inspired others to give it a try… like my mother, who thought I had either too much time on my hands or went all-out hippie. (Okay, so I do make my own granola and have made yogurt. Does that make me a hippie?) I digress.

A few Sundays ago, I made my monthly stock of deodorant, and figured that now was as good as time as any to try making toothpaste. My granddaughters were fascinated. I assume most kids watch their Mema make cookies. They helped me count and seemed to enjoy watching their favorite mad-scientist in action.

The toothpaste was super simple to make. I found it on Crunchy Betty’s blog, and modified it – of course! My concoction: 3 Tbsp of baking soda, 3 Tbsp of coconut oil and 25 drops of peppermint essential oil (I used more peppermint, but omitted the stevia and glycerin, as I don’t care for sweetened toothpaste.) Soften the coconut oil a bit, and mix everything together.  I found little travel containers at Wal-Mart to put the paste in (one for me, one for hubby) and stored the rest of it in a small container to use as a refill. The batch cost about 38 cents to make, and  it looks like it will last two weeks for two people.

After hearing our rave reviews, my mom made her own toothpaste as well, and she is also enjoying the results. If you are not used to the baking soda taste, it is kind of salty/grainy at first, but it took me only two brushings to get used to the taste and texture. My mouth and teeth feel so much cleaner, and I think they look whiter, too.

Have you been inspired to try any of my “lab-tested” stuff? Let me know in the comment section below.

© 2012 – Lynne Cobb

On hope and rainbows

“And when it rains on your parade, look up rather than down. Without the rain, there would be no rainbow.” – Gilbert K. Chesterton

This past Sunday brought an eclectic mix of weather. Warm sunshine and then a cloudy gust to cool things down. The plastic resin chairs bounced across the yard like beach balls. We had an occasional sprinkle of rain, and then the sun was out. This pattern repeated itself throughout the day and into the evening.

I was cleaning the kitchen just after dinner when a beautiful burst of sunshine seemed to just pop out of the darkness. The glorious sunshine was joined with a downpour like I hadn’t seen in a while.

“It’s the perfect mix for a rainbow,” I thought to myself as I headed outdoors. Trust me when I tell you that I wasn’t disappointed. Across the evening sky were not one, but two rainbows. (My oldest daughter was able to snap a quick photo – see above.)

Looking at the double rainbow, I began to tear up. The beauty alone was enough to bring one to tears, but it was the rushing downpour of memories that caused me to be misty-eyed, but smiling at the same time.

Rainbows have a new meaning to me. On July 22, 2011, we were informed that the ventilator my dad was on had to come out. Though it aided his breathing, the apparatus was beginning to do more harm than good. My siblings, mom and I waited nervously while Dad went through the procedure. He came through it, was breathing on his own, and he was finally off the sedation. (Because of his Alzheimer’s, Dad was sedated so he wouldn’t remove the numerous tubes and wires attached to him.) Finally, he was able to see us! And we could see him – with his eyes open! It was wonderful – we were all crying and smiling – because after two long weeks, we had Dad back. He made eye contact with each and every one of us, smiled at us like he really recognized us, and he even tried to talk. We were able to leave the ICU room confidently, though we knew he had a very long road to recovery.

Later that evening, Dad started going downhill – and fast. Mom stayed with him all night, and we all started coming back to Dad’s room in the wee hours of the morning. By the afternoon of July 23, Dad was moved to Hospice care on another floor. His room was packed with us kids, our families and my parents’ siblings. We took shifts taking dinner breaks so that Dad wasn’t alone. Mom came home with me, where we tried to eat. We knew we had to go back to the hospital, but dreaded even thinking about returning.

A storm blew through, which gave us a few more minutes to linger over the dinner my husband had made. After a few sips of coffee, Mom was heading back. I would meet up with the rest of the family later, as I was waiting for my youngest daughter to return home from a week-long trip.

It was still sprinkling when we walked my mom outside to her car, and then out of no where was this bright, fleeting, intense sunshine. In its wake, we witnessed the most beautiful rainbow. I hugged my mom and told her, “Look, Mom, no matter what happens, it’s going to be okay. God‘s got our backs.” My phone started chiming – I was getting texts from other family members who saw the rainbow, too. The texts read: “Did you see the rainbow?” and “God’s promise.” We all felt tremendous hope and comfort in that unexpected rainbow.

Five hours later, in the wee hours of July 24, Dad was on heaven’s side of the rainbow.

In all life’s storms, there really is hope and comfort in a rainbow.

And now in the rainbow, for me anyways, there is also a smile from my dad.

“When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” Genesis 9:16 ESV

© 2012 – Lynne Cobb

Soap sud success from Lynne’s Lab

“Anyone’s life truly lived consists of work, sunshine, exercise, soap, plenty of fresh air, and a happy contented spirit.”

Last week I had a blast in my kitchen. I blogged about making my own deodorant, and how that led me to try making more household items. (Here’s the link in case you missed the first Lynne’s Lab.)

My first experiment was to make liquid soap to refill my dispensers. I stumbled upon instructions on’s Frugal Living. I had all the ingredients, so, why not try it! Using that basic recipe, I grated a four-ounce bar of my favorite bath soap, Trader Joe’s Oatmeal and Honey. I brought four cups of water to a boil and took the pan off the burner, then slowly added the soap shavings, and stirred until the soap was dissolved. Once it dissolved, I let the soap rest 15 minutes and stirred it again.

The mix sat for a couple of hours and cooled (almost completely). It was a thick, gloppy mess, and I thought I had ruined it and wasted my time. But, not to be defeated, and taking a tip from the instructions, I modified things a bit. I took the soap, dumped into my blender and added a 1/4 cup of hot water. Then I blended it – it looked like a super-yummy milkshake! With the help of a funnel, I poured the warm mixture into the dispensers and it worked beautifully. It has a light fragrance and rinses well. No globs, either.

I made about 1.5 quarts of liquid soap for about a dollar. To store it, I placed the leftovers in a canning jar. The next batch I make, I plan to add a little essential oil of lavender. Not only do I love the fragrance, lavender has a calming effect and has antiseptic properties. I’ll let you know how that turns out.

After I made the liquid soap, my next project was to make liquid laundry detergent. The formula I followed made three gallons, and my cost estimate is probably about $2. The are three ingredients: one bar of Fels Naptha soap, grated; 1 cup of washing soda and 1 cup of Borax. Oh, and water 🙂

Put the soap shavings into a four-quart pan, add water about half-way up and cook on medium-low, stirring until shavings melt. Bring to a slight boil then add the dry ingredients, and stir until dissolved. It can boil over easily, so be careful!

Using a glass measuring cup as a scoop, pour equal amounts of the detergent base into the gallon containers. (I used rinsed-out milk containers.) Add hot water to the halfway mark and shake each container well. Lay containers on their side overnight. Solution will gel, like a big yellow glob! Using the handle of a long spoon, break up the gel and add hot water to the container – a little at a time – and shake until well blended. (Don’t fill completely to the top.) Because Jillee, the blogger who posted this detergent has excellent instructions, just click on this link for the complete process and follow her photo guide. Trust me when I tell you she did a great job in making this venture simple and easy to follow.

For ease of use, I poured some of the detergent into a well-rinsed liquid laundry detergent bottle. I use less than half of the measuring lid for a full laundry load. I gave a gallon of detergent to my daughter to try, and the consensus between our two households was that clothing seemed cleaner, brighter and softer. My daughter remarked that a grease stain that she thought was permanently set in a shirt actually came out using the homemade detergent.

Between the two soap making ventures, I spent less than two hours in the kitchen, and that includes hand-grating the bars of soap. Would I do it again? You betcha. Not only is this economical, but there is a tremendous feeling of satisfaction by saying “I made it myself.” And I’d like to believe that both soaps are better for my family’s skin and better for the environment, too.

Stay tuned for my next experiment…

Do you play mad scientist in your kitchen? If so, what do you make?

© 2012 – Lynne Cobb